Two medieval warriors in a heavy snowstorm fight back against an attack from unseen archers. An arrow has pierced the flank of the black horse ridden by the general with crested helmet. This painting is a very early work by Yukihiko, an artistically precocious Nihonga painter. The artist became a noted connoisseur of traditional arts and had a life-long involvement with history painting.
Born in Tokyo, Yukihiko began his art studies in 1898 with Kobori Tomoto (1864-1931), one of the original members of the Japan Art Institute (Nihon Bijutsu-in) founded that same year by the theorist Okakura Tenshin (1862-1913) and a large group of Nihonga artists. Yukihiko was encouraged by Okakura and emerged as an imaginative history painter and major leader of the Institute during the Taisho period, benefiting from the financial backing of the industrial magnate Hara Sankei (1868-1939). His 1912 masterpiece showing Shotoku Taishi in meditation in the Yumedomo Hall is in the collection of the Tokyo National Museum.